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Last updated: 11 July 2020 at 6:00 PM
STCC Employees and Community Protest Program Cuts
Margaret Wong, MCCC President
See Renae Gorman’s email below regarding at standout at STCC on Monday. Please help get the word out. If you can’t make it to the event, I will be live-streaming it via the MCCC Twitter account: @MCCCUnion. Please follow the account so you can still participate from a distance.
Monday, July 13 from 11:30am until 1:00pm at the Main Gate (Federal Street) of Springfield Technical Community College, STCC employees and community will gather to oppose College’s program cuts.
STCC employees, students, their families and other community members will congregate at the college’s Main Gate for a “Stand Up For STCC” event. Participants will hold placards underscoring their opposition to decisions by college President John B. Cook and Academic Vice President Geraldine deBerly, who eliminated 7 long standing job-producing college programs.
For background information on some of these programs, activate the following links:
- STCC Drops 7 Programs and Eliminates 21 Positions
- Faculty Protest Elimination of 7 Programs at Springfield Technical Community College
- Petition To Save STCC Cosmetology Program Tops 2000 Signatures
See the petition to save Cosmetology here.
Those decrying the cuts maintain these programs are essential to STCC’s stated mission and identity as the only technical community college in Massachusetts.
Event organizers will provide opportunities for interviews with some whose programs and jobs have been terminated, along with access to the leadership of STCC’s shared governance body, state and campus labor union officials, and community members.
“This unwise decision is more than an internal STCC labor and shared governance issue. It is one that has negative consequences for students and their families. It forecloses prime opportunities for them to have a more secure future, especially during such troubled economic times. The programs that have been eliminated were pathways to employment in a number of economic sectors,” said Joris Taupier, Faculty Co-Chair of the All Unit Congress, the shared governance body that represents more than 75% of the college’s employees. Taupier, a physics professor, is also one of the 21 faculty and staff who are losing their jobs.
STCC has already suffered a notable loss of employees. In answering a question posed during a college Town Hall meeting last year, Cook stated that 150 employees have left STCC since he became its president in 2016. The college has continued to lose employees but the current total has not been disclosed.
“STCC has long served as an engine of economic development for the community. College administration has ripped the spark plugs from that engine and these desperately need to be put back,” said Renae Gorman, President of the STCC Professional Association, a labor union that represents faculty and members of the professional staff.
Th 2 July ~ Update on Statewide Impact Bargaining
Margaret Wong, MCCC President
The following documents are attached:
- MCCC-BHE COVID-19 Statewide MOA on unit members returning to face-to-face work,
- Q & A prepared by MTA Legal regarding ADA rights, and
- updated agreement on Sick leave use and travel.
We have not been able to reach an agreement on compensation with regard to remote learning for the fall. Management used the word impasse with us. We will continue impact bargaining next week.
F 26 June ~ Urgent Notice: Regarding July 1st Pay Increases
Emily Brown, BrCCC President
The management of the college were unable to complete a number of professional staff reviews by the deadline of June 1. This is a violation of the contract. In consultation with the state grievance coordinators, we have been advised to accept evaluations unless the evaluations are anything other than satisfactory and/or if they include work completed after February 28th. If your situation matches either of these conditions, contact Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP.
Additionally, we need to ensure that all Professional Staff are watching their paychecks for their contractual 2% wage increase. We are concerned that because evaluations were not completed by the deadline, that regardless of evaluation status, the raises may not be applied.
Please make sure to check your July 24th paycheck for the appropriate increase. Contact Emily at email@example.com immediately if you do not see your raise or have questions regarding this situation.
F 26 June ~ Support the HEROES Act
Colleen Avedikian, BrCCC Vice President
On May 18, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act). Among its important features, this $3-trillion aid package would provide additional education funding, state and local aid, a second round of stimulus checks, meals assistance, unemployment extension and Medicaid funding for people negatively impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. The HEROES Act also would provide relief for states, localities, territories, and tribes to pay vital workers such as first responders, health workers, and educators who are at risk of losing jobs from massive budget shortfalls.
Of particular interest to our union members, the HEROES Act allocates $100.15 billion to support the educational needs of states, school districts, and institutions of higher education including:
- training and professional development for college and university faculty and staff to use technology and services related to distance education;
- general expenditures for institutions of higher education for expenses associated with a disruption in services or operations related to coronavirus, including defraying expenses due to lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, and payroll;
- emergency financial aid to postsecondary students for housing, food, technology, health care, and child care.
As of June 1, the HEROES Act has been placed on the US Senate calendar, but no further action has been taken. What can you do?
- Become familiar with the HEROES Act. There is a summary put together by the National Education Association attached to this email. In addition, here is a link to the full legislation: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6800/text.
- Contact your US Senator to encourage him/her/them to bring the HEROES Act to a vote. https://www.senate.gov/senators/index.htm
- Sign this petition sponsored by the Massachusetts Teachers Association (which will be automatically forwarded to your US Senator): https://actionnetwork.org/letters/support-and-improve-the-heroes-act
Read the Initial Summary of the Heroes Act from the NEA.
Th 25 June ~ Bristol in the News
The Herald News: Bristol Community College is much more than the ‘safest’ school
W 24 June ~ Call for Members of the MCCC Task Force on Race
Rosemarie Freeland, MCCC Vice President
The MCCC Board of Directors unanimously voted in support of the following motion establishing an MCCC Task Force on Race. This call to action is both necessary and overdue.
If you are interested in participating on the MCCC Task Force on Race please send an email of interest to MCCC Vice President Rosemarie Freeland at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Your email of interest will include your reasons for wanting to serve on this task force. The task force charge is included in the motion.
June 17, 2020 – I move that the MCCC Board of Directors establish an ad hoc Task Force on Race effective immediately and authorize President Margaret Wong appoint no more than 5 Union Members to the Task Force on Race no later than July 10, 2020. The MCCC Task Force on Race will organize and carry out the necessary groundwork, including but not limited to developing a Bylaw proposal for the 2021 Delegate Assembly that will result in the formation of a new Standing Committee. Further the MCCC Task Force on Race shall work toward identifying, uncovering and dismantling institutional white supremacy and racism embedded in the organizational structure, policies and practices of the MCCC. The Task Force on Race will develop, plan and implement workshops, regional forums, chapter forums, that strive to engage members. Additionally, the MCCC Task Force on Race will inform MCCC union members of state and national union leadership opportunities designed to educate and activate members on institutional and systemic white supremacy and racism. (Moved by Candace Shivers, seconded by Vice President Rosemarie Freeland)
Tu 23 June ~ Bargaining Update
COVID-19 Statewide Bargaining Team
Over the course of bargaining the summer agreement in April, your MCCC team – Claudine Barnes, John McColgan, Margaret Wong, Rosemarie Freeland, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Bret Seferian – repeatedly stated that MCCC intended to bargain over how fall classes would work and over professional staff issues. Right at the start of May we submitted potential bargaining dates to the BHE, but they did not respond immediately and so we did not meet until May 21 to start the third round of bargaining.
We have been bargaining over professional staff working conditions as campuses plan to reopen. Initially the BHE was not willing to discuss staff issues at all – instead saying that each college would each create their own unique plan. However, the MCCC bargaining team asserted our rights and the BHE eventually relented. We are still bargaining over issues surrounding safety such as PPE for staff when they get back to campus, notice before staff are required to return to campus, adequate supplies for staff to do their jobs, and flexible childcare arrangements.
Sa 20 June ~ Sad News
It is with sadness that we share news of the passing of Ray McKearney. Ray was the dear husband of Liz Alcock, retired professor of communication at Bristol Community College. Liz and Ray had 40 great years together before his passing on May 28. Services were private to honor his wishes. If you would like to send a card to Liz, her mailing address is P.O. Box 625, Rehoboth MA 02769.
Obituary of Raymond McKearney.
W 18 June ~ Summer Member Organizing
Colleen Fitzpatrick, MTA Field Representative
I write to inform you about a grant-funded opportunity through the MTA and NEA, for Higher Ed members to get hired over the summer to reach out to and engage individuals who are not active in the union or who are non-members. This program is aimed at increasing participation in the life of the union, improving membership rates, and strengthening our capacity to support bargaining and other goals. Applications for these paid positions are now open and members are strongly encouraged to apply.
Increasing membership and engagement is a shared priority between the NEA/MTA and MCCC. We know that operating in a post-Janus “right-to-work” environment requires new ways of thinking and acting to improve membership signup and retention. The experience of unions throughout the country reinforces the knowledge that personal, one-on-one contact is essential to a sense of belonging as well as collective power.
Please see the attached posting for more information. Below is an abbreviated summary of the qualifications and commitment for the position.
Those selected to work as member organizers will gain firsthand experience in organizing. Successful candidates will be enthusiastic and must have a strong desire to build the strength of our union. Members from all higher ed locals are welcome to apply. Adjunct and non-tenure-track faculty are especially encouraged to apply.
Commitment: The program will begin with a training in early July. Daily work consists of phone and on-line contact with MTA-represented higher ed workers. The actual hours will be planned with a coordinator. The program will run through August 28.
Compensation: The Member Organizer job is a temporary summer job. The compensation is $500 per full week based on $25 per hour (approximately 20 hours/week).
W 17 June ~ Bristol in the News
The Sun Chronicle: A safer alternative for college
Tu 16 June ~ LMS Arbitration Resolution
Dennis Fitzgerald, MCCC Day Grievance Coordinator
Joe Rizzo and I are reporting the resolution of a major arbitration for both the Day Unit and DCE Unit at Roxbury Community College. Roxbury Community College’s LMS is called “MyRCC”. Last year, the chapter leadership discovered that in addition to the faculty member assigned to a course, the RCC administration named deans as faculty for courses. These assignments of deans to courses gave the deans full access to courses. These deans were visiting faculty courses and viewing course materials, course overviews, gradebooks, rosters, and communications between faculty and the students. At no time, did the administration request permission to review course materials or course communications. One week prior to the arbitration hearing, a resolution was reached for both units. The executed MOA mandates that the college will cease and desist accessing individual faculty courses and course shells except for two reasons; 1) When providing emergency notifications to students when the faculty member is unable to do so and when there is no alternative means of communication with students; and 2) When investigating a grade appeal where the faculty member has failed to cooperate after being given a reasonable opportunity to provide necessary information. In such cases, the college shall notify the faculty member of the fact of the access and the purpose and be listed as a guest. In addition, under no circumstances shall administrators be listed as a faculty member or as a student on a course shell.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Joe or me.
phone: 978-255-2798, fax: 978-255-2896
Tu 9 June ~ Locked Unemployment Accounts Due to Fraud
Margaret Wong, MCCC President
As you may know, many MCCC members have had their DUA (Department of Unemployment Assistance) accounts frozen due to fraudulent UA claims filed in their name. Many have reported that they are not able to reach a live person to help them get their account unlocked or have been told that it would take six weeks or longer to unlock.
The MCCC and MSCA have been working with a representative of the AFL-CIO who has a contact in the DUA with whom he interacts daily, who is able to help get the accounts that have been locked due of the fraud, unlocked. Members who want to avail themselves of this expedited method to unlock their frozen accounts need to send me their name, telephone number, email address and the last four digits of their Social Security number. I will collect the information and pass it along daily to MCCC Field Representative, Roberta James who is the point person working with the AFL-CIO representative.
Alternatively, members can call the Governor’s office or their State Senator. Several members have reported success in getting their accounts immediately unlocked when they did this.
Margaret Wong, firstname.lastname@example.org, (508) 560-5218
Th 4 June ~ Letter in Reply to Public Comment Request
Joan Medeiros, Board of Trustees Chairman
Dear President Brown,
Thank you for your letter and your interest in improving the college atmosphere for students, faculty, staff and the community. We would like to congratulate you and other officers on your new leadership roles.
The Bristol Community College Board of Trustees respects the faculty and staff, supports their right to voice their opinions and we are open to listening to your concerns. There is no question that since Prsident Douglas joined Bristol there has been a positive impact at the college and in our communities. The college has been able to quickly pivot to meet the sharp decline in enrollment, close achievement gaps, and work to view the college’s practices through an equity lens.
W 3 June ~ Public Comment Request to Board of Trustees
Emily Brown, BrCCC President
Dear Chair Medeiros and the Members of the Bristol Board of Trustees,
My name is Emily Brown and I am the newly elected President of the Bristol Community College Chapter of the MCCC union. I appreciate this opportunity to speak with you today.
First, I want you to know that it is our intention to request to be put on the agenda for every Board of Trustees’ meeting. We feel it is important that we have the opportunity to maintain dialog directly with the Board about issues that concern our college. We are hopeful that the Board sees collaboration and dialog as a productive avenue to address several critical issues we face, together. The newly elected officers are embracing a team approach for our work and sincerely hope to collaborate productively with the Administration and the Board to solve problems in a fair manner that meets the best interests of all concerned.
W 3 June ~ Bristol in the News
The Herald News: Bristol Community College: No fully face-to-face classes in the fall
M 1 June ~ Join Us!
Emily Brown, BrCCC President
If you were able to make the meeting today – thank you!! I can honestly say we were thrilled that you joined us.
If you were not able to make it, we will notify you when the minutes are available. Minutes can be found here.
As you know, we are approaching the work of the union in the light of teamwork. We are asking for those who want to be involved to join us on several committees. We hope to build a diverse team, with lots of ideas, so don’t be afraid to volunteer.
Here’s a link to our Google Doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1J0uoJN8PSG41Rq73nDAIwamm4mLjN8wpwflq_MhZSOE/edit?usp=sharing
You can add your name or email email@example.com.
Please let us know if you have questions!